Sandwell council staff win major wage rise as council backs down in pay dispute

Unfair job grading would have penalised customer service workers

Customer service assistants employed by Sandwell council have secured a substantial wage rise after the council backed down in a pay dispute over job grading. The fourteen members of Unite were due to begin industrial action, resulting in major disruption to council services a week from today.

The dispute was a result of a job evaluation process – described as ‘botched’ by the union – that did not take into account the work the customer service assistants undertook.

However the industrial action has now been called off after Sandwell council made a suitable offer to members that resolve their concerns. The workers have been re-graded as of 1 May. The re-grading means that the workers who earn £19,000 – £20,000 a year will eventually see their pay increase by £5,000 per annum.

“Sandwell council has seen reason”

Unite regional officer Brian Rickers said:

I am pleased that Sandwell council has seen reason and realised that its customer care assistants were being treated unfairly.

Unite was adamant that this dispute could be resolved by negotiation and that has indeed proved to be the case.

Sandwell’s customer care assistants who are the public face of the council will now be paid appropriately for the work they undertake.

I would like to pay tribute to the commitment of the affected workers who despite their small numbers, through their solidarity, were able to stand up to the council and secure wage justice.”

Unison members were also affected by the job grading exercise and were also preparing to take industrial action.


Yet another victory for solidarity – and again Unite are at the heart of it.

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1 comment

  1. This result shows why all workers should be in Trade Unions. Solidarity, collective bargaining and unity bring results. This is why successive governments since Thatcher have sought to undermine Unions and Union leaders and make it as difficult as possible for them to operate.

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